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Ancient Sumer, Early Pioneers Illustration

Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids
Ancient Sumer

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In ancient Mesopotamia, the people who first settled down in the land between two rivers are known as the Sumerians. The civilization that grew along the riverbanks was named after one of its more famous cities, Sumer. This civilization started out arranged in small villages and towns that were agricultural in nature, with of course some hunting and fishing. The villages and towns gradually grew into great walled cities that traded amongst themselves as well as with other people. Each city has its own military and its own government. But the people in all the Sumerian city-states (cities) spoke the same language, believed in the same gods, and moved freely from one city-state to another, to trade and also to live. They also went to war with each other. The laws of all the city-states were pretty much universal. Everyone knew them and was expected to obey them. This was understood.

The Sumerians believed in many gods. To the ancient Sumerians, all gods were important.

The ancient Sumerians were very clever. They invented many things to make their life more comfortable and to help their civilization grow. They put wheels on carts and probably invented the sail for sailboats. They developed the first written language, cuneiform.  They invented cylinder seals, which they used to sign legal documents like contracts. They invented the first super hero, Gilgamesh. They may have invented kilns for bricks and plows for their fields.  They are credited with inventing many other tools and implements to help with building and farming.

Follow the links below to learn about daily life in ancient Sumer.

The Royal Tombs at Ur

Classes of People

Women

School

Religion

Cylinder Seals

Cuneiform

Gilgamesh

Inventions

Daily Life

Interactive Quiz about the Land Between Two Rivers (with answers)